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Swahili For Summiteers

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This guide is part of your welcome kit to the Global Voices Summit 2012. It aims at providing you with words and expressions that might be useful during your stay in Nairobi. Karibu!

Written by: Deogratias, Njeri, Ndesanjo, Ika, Christian, Collins, Thalia and Luis Henrique.

Published in: Travel, Technology
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Swahili For Summiteers

  1. 1. Swahili for Summiteers
  2. 2. Swahili for Summiteers This guide is part of your welcome kit to the Global Voices Summit 2012It aims at providing you words and expressions that might be useful during your stay in Nairobi Why don’t you try it out? Come on, don’t be shy (: We bet you’ll love it! Karibu! Swahili Swahili is a lingua franca that is spoken by more than 120 million people in East Africa. It’s roots date back cen- turies. It developed as people from different parts of the world encountered for various purposes, mainly trade. The interaction between the Arab world and East Africa has contributed significantly to the development of the language. This interaction was not only limited to these two sides sides. There are historical accounts showing that people from as far as China visited the East African coast in around 2nd Century AD. So, you one who learns about the language will find that there is influence from all these places -- in terms of vocabulary items, culture and architecture. However, the main composition of vocabulary items comes from the local languages (mainly Bantu) and Arabic. The ratio can roughly be 65:35. The language has many dialects. The kind of Kiswahili spoken along the coast of East Africa - Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa, Tanga, Zanzibar -- is slightly different from the one spoken in Mainland Tanzania. In Kenya, and Nairobi in particular, there is another dialect. The Comoro Islands also have their own Swahili dialects. All in all there is Standard Swahili. So, irrespective of the differences from one dialect to the other, people still communicate. Swahili in Nairobi has been very much influenced by English-this form of swahili or street slang is known as “Sheng” . The reason is almost everyone there communicates in English. In recent years, Swahili was taken up by the African Union as another of its official languages. The language is continuously growing in popularity and coverage. So, roughly, Kiswahili is spoken in the following areas: Tanzania (Both Mainland and Zanzibar) 99%; Kenya, parti- cularly the southern half of the country; Uganda (people still relate it as the language of oppression because Idi Amin’s soldiers used it to communicate = however, things are beginning to change now); Northern provinces of Mozambique; Northern parts of Malawi; Northern parts of Zambia; Eastern provinces of the Democratic Repu- blic of Congo; Burundi and Rwanda. In all these countries and areas one should be able to communicate in Kiswahili -- even at the rudimentary level.
  3. 3. Swahili for Summiteers 3 Pronunciation in Swahili Personal Pronouns and their Swahili EquivalentsPronunciation in Swahili follows more or less the same I = Mimiformula as in Italian. The vowels are pronounced the You = Weweway they are written and so do the consonants.  He/She = Yeye (Swahili does not differentiate genderFor example the sound A in BABA is similar to the A in here)PAPA. (Please note Papa is also a Swahili word with It = kiletwo meanings: a shark (ocean creature) and Pope(Catholic leader). We = Sisi  You = Nyinyi/NinyiE sound is similar to E sound in PEN. They = Wao I sound is similar to I in INK.  My = yanguO sound is similar to O in COMMON. Your = yako U sound is similar to U in POUND. His/Hers = yake Its = yake Our = yetu Relations Your = yenuFather = Baba Their = yaoMother = MamaBrother = Kaka Examples:Sister = DadaHusband = Mume My friend = Rafiki yanguWife = Mke/Bibi (second is mostly used in Kenya) Your friend = Rafiki yakoGrandfather = Babu His/her friend = Rafiki yakeGrandmother = Bibi (Tanzania) / Nyanya (Kenya) Its friend = Rafiki yakeUncle = Mjomba Our friend = Rafiki yetuAunt = Shangazi Your friend = Rafiki yenuFriend = Rafiki Their friend = Rafiki yaoNeighbour = Jirani Sentence Construction is a Bit Complicated in SwahiliI have a book = Nina kitabuThe word NINA shows the subject (NI = I), the act of possessing (NA) and the time (simple present) and thenthe object bookWe will go to the summit = Tutakwenda kwenye mkutano(TU = We) (TA = time = future) (Kwenda = go = main verb)I read a book = Nilisoma kitabu(NI = I) (LI = time = simple past) (Soma = read = main verb)
  4. 4. Swahili for Summiteers 4 Tourist Information Citizen Media VocabularyYes = Ndio Blog = bloguNo =  la, hapana Blogger = mwanabloguI´m lost = Nimepotea Blogosphere = ulimwengu wa wanabloguWhich way to the airport / hotel = Naomba unielekeze Citizen media = vyombo vya habari vya kiraiaNamna ya kufika uwanja wa ndege/hoteliniI´m staying at Pride Inn hotel = Nimefikia Hoteli ya Freedom of expression = uhuru wa maoni / uhuru waPride Inn KujielezaCould you please help me? = Unaweza kunisaida ta- Global Voices = Sauti za ulimwengufadhali Censorship = udhibitiSpoon = Kijiko Empowerment = kuwezeshwaFork = umaKnife = Kisu Translator = mtafsiriFood = Chakula Podcast = podikastiBeverage = vinywaji Upload = pandishaDrink = Kunywa Video = videoWater = Maji Audio = ya sautiNorth, South, East, West = Kaskazini Kusini, Mashariki Volunteer = mtu anayejitoleamagharibiThis is expensive = Hii ni ghali sana Mainstream = vikuuThis is cheap = Hii ni nafuu sana Media = vyombo vya habariHow much does it cost? = Unauza shilingi ngapi? Divide = gawanyafrom which country are you? = Unatoka nchi gani? Conversation = mazungumzoI come from (name of country) = Ninatoka (China, Manifesto = ilaniIndia, UK etc) Summit = mkutanoHotel = hoteliRestaurant = mkahawa Subtitles = maandishi/maelezoTea = chai Twitter = TwitaCoffee = kahawa Facebook = FacebookMilk = maziwa Tweets = TwitiSoda = soda Website = TovutiBeer = bia/pombeTaxi = Taksii Email = baruapepeCommuter bus = Matatu (in Nairobi), Daladala (in Dar Computer = kompyuta / Tarakilishies Salaam) Password = nywila / neno la siriBar = baa Citizen Media = uandishi wa habari wa kiraiaShillings(Kenyan Currency) = ShillingiTourist = Mtalii
  5. 5. Swahili for Summiteers 5 Numbers Days of the WeekOne = Moja Monday = JumatatuTwo = Mbili Tuesday = Jumanne Wednesday = JumatanoThree = Tatu Thursday = AlhamisiFour = Nne Friday = IjumaaFive = Tano Saturday = JumamosiSix = Sita Sunday = JumapiliSeven = SabaEight = Nane MonthsNine = Tisa January = JanuariTen = Kumi February = Februari March = MachiTwenty = Ishirini April = ApriliThirty = Thelathini May = Mei June = JuniForty = Arobaini July = JulaiFifty = Hamsini August = AgostiSixty = Sitini September = Septemba October = OktobaSeventy = Sabini November = NovembaEighty = Themanini December = DesembaNinety = TisiniOne Hundred = Mia moja SeasonsOne Thousand = Elfu moja Winter (Cold) = Majira ya baridiTen Thousand = Elfu Kumi Summer (warm/hot) = majira ya jotoOne Hundred Thousand = laki moja Rainy season = majira ya mvua Dry season = majira ya ukameOne Million = Milioni moja
  6. 6. Swahili for Summiteers 6 Slang & Bad Words Being KindSlang Good morning = Habari za asubuhiHi = Sasa, Niaje, Mambo Good afternoon = Habari za mchanaHi (responding to above) = Fit, Fiti, Poa, Fit sana Good night =  Usiku mwemaForeigner = Mlami How nice of you = umekuwa mkarimu sana/mmekuwaMoney = Ganji, Niado, DohBribe = Kitukidogo wakarimu sanaBad Words What a beautiful day = Siku imekuwa njema/nzuri sanaGet lost = Ishia, wachana na mimi Please = TafadhaliYou are bothering me = unanisumbua Thank you = AsanteStop bothering me = usinisumbue What time is it?  = Ni saa ngapi? Locations I love you = ninakupenda I miss you = nina hamu na weweMy room = Chumba changu Would you go on a date with me? = Tunaweza kutokaBathroom = Bafu pamoja?Loo choo/msalaniMarket = sokoni How are you? = Hujambo?Hotel = hoteli Good, well = safi, nzuriCafe = Mkahawa My name is = Jina langu niClub = Klabu What is your name? = Jina lako ni nani?Disco = Disco I want = ninatakaPlease take me to (location) = Naomba unipeleke Would you like to dance = Ungependa kudensiWhere are we?/where is this place? = Tuko wapi?Are we lost? = Tumepotea? You look very attractive = wavutia sana, wewe niNo problem = hakuna matata / hakuna tabu/ hakuna mrembo sanashida Would you like a drink = ungependa kinywaji What do you take/drink = Wewe hutumia/hunywa nini Kiswahili or Swahili? Beer or water or wine = pombe au maji au mvinyoAccording to The Kamusi Project,"Swahili" is the English I need = ninahitajiterm for the Swahili language, while "Kiswahili" is the Swahililanguage term for the Swahili language. I would like = Naomba I am looking for = Ninatafutaki = language u = place m = person wa = people Bye bye = kwa heriKiswahili = Swahili language Hi, hello = Mambo! , Salama? I’m ok/cool = Niko poaUswahili = Swahili speaking area How much is it? = Ni pesa NgapiMswahili = Swahili speaking person My change/balance is = Change yangu niWaswahili = Swahili speaking people
  7. 7. Swahili for Summiteers 7 Kiswahili song with translation Artist: Fadhili Williams Song: MalaikaMalaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel.Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel.Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio And I, your young lover, what can I do.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.kidege, hukuwaza kidege Little bird, I dream of you little bird.kidege, hukuwaza kidege Little bird, I dream of you little bird.Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio And I, your young lover, what can I do.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.pesa za sumbua roho yangu Money is troubling my soulpesa za sumbua roho yangu Money is troubling my soulnami nifanyeje,kijana mwenzio , And I, your young lover, what can I do,nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel.Malaika, nakupenda malaika Angel, I love you Angel.Nami nifanyeje, kijana Mwenzio And I, your young lover, what can I do.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.nashindwa na mali sina we, I can’t as I don’t have wealthningekuoa malaika I would have married you Angel.

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